I have decided that the plural of asparagus in the English language needs to change (See? always dealing with the big issues here at Chew Town). It is anti-climactic to say “One asparagus, five asparagus” – especially when one is viewing their beauty en masse as I recently was able to do thanks to receiving the first asparagus spears of the spring season (kindly sent to me by Aussie Asparagus).
It took all my strength after receiving them to try and avoid standing them up in little tins and taking photos of them… and in the end I wasn’t strong enough (see below). Three types of asparagus made their way into my hot little hands and they were all spears of perfection – mini spears, medium spears and grande spears.
These beauties were all grown in Australia – the first spears of the season as a matter of fact. Australia has a great climate for growing asparagus and Victoria seems to be the place for them with over 95% of Australian asparagus grown there. So given Spring is the perfect time to be enjoying them, if you live in Australia like me, make sure you check where that next asparagus bunch you are holding was grown and buy Aussie made.
The first thing I did with my lovely asparagus was to take the grande spears and wrap them in puff pastry with prosciutto and manchego cheese (no need for a recipe as they are super easy – check them out on Instagram).
Then, turning my mind to the delicate mini spears of perfection, I decided they were screaming out to be turned into a tart. I did this by using ingredients left in my fridge which led to a somewhat unconventional yoghurt based tart filling with smoked salmon. Little did I know this filling would be better than any other tart filling I’ve made. Yoghurt always has a way of surprising you like that.
Topped with a gorgeous ring of asparagus mini soldiers the asparagus and smoked salmon tart was almost too pretty to eat…
Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Tart
- 250g Sour cream short crust pastry (my favourite is the Carême brand)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 red shallots, thinly sliced
- 200g greek yoghurt
- 1 cup cream
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 100g smoked salmon
- 2 x 100g bunch mini asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Grease a 22cm removable base tart tin and then carefully line the tart tin with the pastry. Line the inside of the pastry with baking paper or foil and fill to the top with baking weights or a dried pulse. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking in a preheated oven at 180° Celsius for 15 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallots and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes) season to taste and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Spread shallot mixture on the base of the tart case. Whisk yoghurt, cream, eggs and flour in a bowl to combine, season to taste and pour over onion mixture. Gently drop in folded smoked salmon slices then lay asparagus spears over the top in a circle.
Bake until golden and set (20-25 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chew Town was not paid to develop this recipe, but was gifted the asparagus spears from the Australian Asparagus Council, with thanks. If you would like to learn more about Australian asparagus visit the website.